“Some sort of fish situation”


There’s obviously something wrong with hockey when Jason Ward’s lack of ice time is the sexiest topic of the day around the Rangers.

Believe me, I usually appreciate hockey’s relatively bland culture, especially since I know plenty of sports reporters who’ve been forced to cultivate longstanding relationships with police officers and lawyers.

But c’mon, Jason Ward? Can’t we at least make stuff up?


Anyway, a brief refresher: as you know, Ward was a healthy scratch on Saturday against the Bruins, and will be one again tonight against the Devils. Frustrated for obvious reasons, he expressed as much to one of my counterparts, which appeared online today. Compounding matters was the fact that Renney and Ward had yet to talk face-to-face. They have since, and while Renney still declined to discuss what was lacking in Ward’s game of late, he downplayed any lingering friction.

“It’s inevitable that we were goign to meet on it,” the coach said. “The fact of the matter is as I was going through my day yesterday he came to me before I got to him, but certainly the discussion was going to be had. He’s a good pro, a good man, and he wants to contribute. So we shared with each other what he can do to get him going on a regular basis. Because he’s a good player for us.”

Of course, moments later, Ward emerged from the dressing room with a hockey stick over his head, and the two men had to be restrained.

OK, that was me making stuff up…

Some other tidbits:

  • Turns out Aaron Ward and Matt Cullen did ask the Rangers about making the trip to the White House with their old Hurricanes teammates on Feb. 2, but the issue is still being reviewed by the higher-ups. It doesn’t sound likely, especially considering that the two had also asked about attending a ring ceremony with the Hurricanes back before the season started, and the Rangers shot that down, too.
  • I was a lousy math student in school, but here’s what I know: A loss tonight puts the Rangers 10 points behind the Devils in the Atlantic Division. “It’s significant,” Renney said. “If you want to recover 10 points, that’s probably five or six weeks of hockey, not to mention the fact that one team has to trip up a bit.”

    Translation: don’t lose.

  • It’s never encouraging when you can’t precisely describe what is being served for dinner. I just asked another writer what was on line at the buffet, and here’s the response I got: “I don’t know,” he said. “Some sort of fish situation.” I’m going in, folks. If you don’t hear from me in the next few days, you’ll know why…

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    1. Doodie Machetto on

      Sam, don’t make stuff up and lower yourself to Larry Brooks’ level.

      I think Ward and Cullen should be allowed to go. Maybe they’ll remember what it feels like to be a winner and start to work harder. It can’t really hurt if they go.

    2. Hey, maybe if the Rangers give permission for Ward and Cullen to visit the White house, maybe Bush will give them both a set of fatigues and never again will the Rangers see them.

      Can Hossa and Hall come too??

    3. Renney the great communicator. HAH.

      I agree with sitting JWard out. but no matter who the player is, I feel that the coach helps his team and the player more by talking to the player first, explaining why and what to work on, and heading off media speculation.

      the fact that Renney does not explain anything to his players is more indictment of him and his lack of competence for the job.

    4. Doodie, I agree, they should be allowed to go, as long as it doesn’t conflict with any of the team’s scheduled events. I know they have a game the next day in Tampa, so maybe that might be why they’re considering not letting them go. But other than that, what’s the harm? Reconize and respect the fact that they were on a team other than the Rangers last year, and that team so happened to win the Stanley Cup.

      And yeah, 10 points going into late January is no small feat to overcome. These are the games we need to win.

    5. Doodie Machetto on

      Don Maloney just said that “maybe on a good team, Cullen is a third line center, but here in NY he has to be a 2nd line player.”

    6. Doodie Machetto on

      Or was it Dave Maloney? Which Maloney does the pregame type stuff with John Gianone?

    7. the fact that Cullen is not being used as a PP point man, where he was very successful in Carolina, is more evidence against Renney. and it shows favoritism to Jagr. and it does not put the team at its most favorable personnel use.

    8. Sam I think the J Ward situation got bigger because he seemed lost & worried since he thought he was playing good. He’s been used on the #1,3 & 4 lines which would lead a player to think good thoughts. He probably thought he was being shopped or traded soon.

    9. Doodie

      It’s Dave, the smart one.

      His kid brother, Don, gets to sit in the office that says “Vice President, Player Personnel and Assistant General Manager” and steal all the paper clips he can stuff in his pockets.

    10. Doodie Machetto on

      The thing that surprises me the most about the Ward benching is that Ward is one of Renney’s guys. If he benched a non-Renney guy I wouldn’t be shocked but Ward has been Renney’s boy.

    11. Doodie

      that may well be true but at least I would spend a few minutes a day doing something substantive.

    12. no matter who he benches, friend or foe alike, he owes that player an explanation, so that the player can try to work in practice on what the coaching staff is unhappy about. but nobody can improve by being kept in the dark.

      I don’t care if it’s Hossa, Jagr, Shanny, JWard, or joe blow.

    13. Blair Betts and his two year contract comes down on a four on two break and throws the puck behind everybody. Sign him up for two more.

    14. great pass, my ass. he threw the puck into the zone at the feet of a Devils Dman, who stumbled.

      then later, a 4-on-2 and Betts passes it behind everybody.

      effin Renney and his putting 2 clowns with Shanny routine.

    15. Doodie Machetto on

      One play means nothing. Nylander had a 2 on one in the last game and peeled off- no pass, no shot, nothing.

      C’mon Renney, surprise everyone, change up those line combos!

    16. Doodie Machetto on

      It was right on Shanny’s stick as he was entering the zone-take off the Hossa hate blinders and you would’ve seen it. Whether the D-Man slipped or not is just whether its Shanny 1 on 1 or on a breakaway. It was a great pass.

    17. take off the Hossa cheerleader pompons. this post says it all.

      January 16th, 2007 at 2:38 am

      What do Betts and Hossa have in common?

      Betts has 7 points in 683 minutes TOI

      Hossa has 5 points in his 485 minutes TOI

      That means that they are both averaging a point every 97 minutes they play.

      That is complete and utter offensive inteptitude, and only with the NY Rangers would that qualify them for a bump up to the 2nd line.

    18. WHAT is the deal with Kaspar?? Why is Renney sitting him again? He is the only D-man with a +2 and he works well with the other D-men. How are the players supposed to develop “chemistry” if Renney keeps changing the lines??

    19. Ann– i have to disagre with you….jsut becuase Kaspar has a +2 does not mean he was one of the better dman. I thought that was one of Renneys smart moves. Malik has a really good +/- does that mean he is one of our better dmen?? Kaspar has not been good AT ALL so i agree with his benching completely.

    20. sorry that post came out so weird…dont know what happened there…but you get my point : )

    21. Doodie Machetto on

      This game was over yesterday when Renney decided on his line combos. I bet someone from the Devils read the blog yesterday and the Devils took the rest of the day off.

    22. Well, this is certainly surprising. Our first line can’t get anything going because they’re stuck playing against the best defensive line in the entire league. And our first fourth line, our second fourth line, and yes, even our thrid fourth line are having trouble doing anything offensively because they’re all fourth lines and so none of them are able to play offense, if that is a term. As a result, we’ve pestered Marty with all of a dozen shots through almost 2 periods.

      How can this be?

      I don’t understand….

    23. Actually Sam, why make stuff up when we’ve got Renney and the Rangers doing stuff that you can’t possibly make up? I mean, would you ever have thought, dreamed, or imagined the possibility of the Rangers playing with one first line and 3 fourth lines by this poinjt in the season? If you had sat down to write some “Rangers fiction” at the beginning of the year (I know, I know, you do have a life), would you have made Blair Betts and Marcel Hossa part of Brendan Shanahan’s season story line? Would it have occurred to you that the two leading scorers for the Pack last year would be banished back to Hartford with nary a look so we could snag Jason Krog (no offense to UNH) and Brad Isbister (whose middle name is actually “Effing” in some sections of the blue seats? That Ozolinsh would play even one game, much less 25 or 30?

      Games like tonight happen. You’re not going to do much better than splitting 8 games with New Jersey. it’s the atrocious losses to the Isles, the Kings, the Panthers, the Leaves (yes, I said Leaves not Leafs because that’s English) that end up killing the season. Win those games and you can live with tough ones like tonight. At least from the looks of it right now…

    24. Doodie Machetto on

      All of those passes on a PP without shooting? looks like the Devils are taking a page out of the Rangers’ playbook.

    25. Leaves. Leaves Leaves Leaves Leaves Leaves.

      Sorry. Complete inability to not do that. You’re right of course, Doodie. (yet another phrase I’m surprised to be typing, not because you’re right, but because your name is Doodie).

    26. Doodie Machetto on

      haha, if it actually was, I don’t think I would’ve made it past the 3rd grade.

      Can we start the fire Renney chants yet? Because this loss is 100% his fault.

    27. Doodie Machetto on

      I called the shutout as soon as I saw the line combos. Make me the coach instead of Renney. I don’t even need to be paid. I’ll do it for the good of the team!

    28. If we make the playoffs, I’ll be absolutely shocked right now. Tom Renney has tried just about every single line combo except for the most obvious one – WHY does he not put Jagr and Shanahan on the same line?

    29. What a miserable game, what a miserable organization… I’m sick of this. Thanks God we don’t have to watch them until Saturday…

    30. Doodie Machetto on

      Yeah, put Jagr and Shanny on the same line and make it even easier for the Devils to shut the Rangers down. Then they wouldn’t even have to think about any other line except that one.

    31. Might as well have one line that can score consistantly since we have zero offense right now. If Jagr gets shadowed, it leaves Shanahan open.

      I know Renney paired them up briefly today, but I’m talking about consistantly playing them on the same line…

    32. The Rangers are defintitely not making the playoffs. No question about it. I’m not even discouraged after tonight, the Devils just got the lead and sat on it. Other teams – the ones near and behind us in the standings – they’re all gaining momentum and getting their games together and putting together good stretches of wins, gearing up into playoff position. The Rangers are in total disarray. They just picked up Jason Krog off of waivers, started Blair Betts as their second line center along with Marcel Hossa on his wing, and the line combinations change with every shift. Shanahan and Jagr haven’t scored since Thanksgiving, and as soon as Prucha got going Renney demoted him to fourth line.

      This is a team on the way down. Works for me if we end up playing the yoots and my tickets stay cheaper.

    33. only 1 game between now and Sat. the 27th.

      but, there is a roster freeze again during the all-star break during which trades are not allowed. I don’t know the freeze dates, but it is probably between Sun. the 21st, and fri. the 26th. when games resume.

    34. If this coach would stick with his line combos for more than a period maybe these guys could gel a little bit. He changes them more than I change my underwear!!!

    35. I am by no means a Renney supporter. But, that being said, It is at the least, interesting to see a different look on the ice as far as line combos. What is disappointing to me is the fact that Jagr’s posse plays the whole F’n game!!! The Devils are geared for the Jagr posse. The more they play, the easier it is for New Jersey to follow their game plan. Which is simply to shut down the Jagr Posse.
      I must reiterate for the umpteenth time on this blog, that as long as Jagr’s Posse plays 1 third of the game, the other three line do not play enough to be effective. It is impossible to evaluate the new line combo’s in this fashion. They are not on the ice in enough situations to make a difference. You can spew all you want about why certain players deserve more ice time than others, but at the end of the day, if your team doesn’t score more than the other team YOU LOSE. So, if the ice time leaders do not score, you lower your chances even more.

    36. Renney is terrible. So lame that we have 3 fourth lines and a fourth line with one guy who mopes, one guy who’s afraid of shooting and one guy who busts his ass to no avail.

      Whoever posted on an earlier update that Prucha should have shown up for the season with more muscle is dead on. I like him a lot and don’t want the team to get rid of him at all, but he gets pushed to the ice far too often. That being said, Renney has completely screwed him. Prucha’s playing with lumberjacks who couldn’t take or give a pass if their lives depended on it. Sadly for us fans, they don’t.

      And, man, do the Devils announcers suck. They were acting like that was game 7 in ’94. Idiots. Stan Fischler actually said Krog was the guy to look for, then one of the other guys said the “player to look for” was Orr.

    37. John M Nylander 12, Straka 15, Jagr 20, Shanny 19, cullen 17 1/2, betts 17 … B. Betts 16:56 0 0 -1 5 0
      M. Cullen 17:37 0 0 0 1 0
      R. Hollweg 9:09 0 0 0 1 0
      M. Hossa 13:46 0 0 -1 1 0
      J. Jagr 20:16 0 0 0 1 0
      J. Krog 16:27 0 0 0 1 0
      M. Malik 20:24 0 0 0 2 0
      M. Nylander 12:08 0 0 0 1 0
      C. Orr 7:18 0 0 0 0 2
      J. Ortmeyer 13:56 0 0 0 1 2
      T. Pock 16:54 0 0 0 4 0
      P. Prucha 10:58 0 0 0 1 0
      K. Rachunek 19:41 0 0 0 0 2
      M. Rozsival 19:29 0 0 0 2 0
      B. Shanahan 19:05 0 0 -1 2 0
      M. Straka 14:51 0 0 0 2 2
      F. Tyutin 21:57 0 0 -1 1 0
      A. Ward 20:36 0 0 -1 0 0

    38. I Miss Steve Rucchin on

      I give up, Sam.

      No, not because of Jason Krog. I understand that move.

      But the team is playing with no heart. Throwing the puck at the goalie from the corner counts as a shot, yes, but not as a scoring chance. What did the Rangers have today, 3 chances? Normally, Devils games are boring because of the Devils’ defensive system. Tonight, it was boring because the Rangers showed no heart.

      So what’s going to happen? They either a) miss the playoffs miserably, or b) sneak into the playoffs in 7th or 8th place, lose miserably, and ticket prices go up, as Dolan the Jackass promised us.

      It’s a lose-lose situation.

      Fire Renney? Fire Dolan. As long as he is running the show, it’s hopeless.

    39. Nylander only played 12 mins.

      Colton Orr over 7 mins. in a game that had the devil pest Jannsen not even suited up.

      Renney is too busy giving ice time to Sather’s waiver wire wonderboys.

    40. 4 Rangers

      Straka ‘s Ice was affected by the lack of power plays tonight. Nylander also. Not Rosival or Malik though. Those two defensemen playing 20 minutes a night and providing zero offense id most definitely one of the biggest problems on this Ranger team.

    41. While this comment may have already been raised (i couldn’t stand to read through the written abuse), but why is Colton Orr playing in place of Jason Ward? Orr contributes nothing…literally nothing. J. Ward can at least provide penalty kill, forcheck, and the occasional goal or assist. In addition, I’d like to comment on Renney’s reluctance to call up any AHL player. Its becoming ridiculous…he continues to wait for player to be “NHL ready” when look at Zach Parise, who spent his rookie year learning a ton from Gionta, Gomez, Langenbrunner, Elias. Why don’t the Rangers have anything like that in place…just imagine what Dubinsky and Dawes could be learning from Shanahan, Straka and Jagr from playing alongside them or watching them play nightly. Where is the future of this franchise and what are they waiting for? Merely putting Colton Orr on the ice is an embarrasment for all Ranger fans who want to see this team turned around.

    42. they get 20 mins. because Jagr insists on it. Jagr said straight out in dellapinas column that he wants them out there with him, period.

    43. I Miss Steve Rucchin:

      I think you jumped over the real problem: Slats.

      Dolan is pretty much willing to give Sather and Renney free rein if they win and this team is what they’ve done with that. Don’t get me wrong, I think Dolan is a terrible sports owner. But if Sather knew what he was doing or, more importantly, could admit he didn’t always know what he was doing and correct the mistakes he’s made, the Rangers could be a good team. Unfortunately, Sather seems to be a pompous, stubborn ass who makes all sorts of ill-advised moves and insists on seeing them through regardless of the obvious on-ice proof that he’s wrong.

      And I’m starting to believe that Renney is simply in way over his head and trying to fake his way through another year at a higher pay level than he was used to.

    44. It’s also brutal to watch a devils game. Their defensive system, although extremely effective, is the most boring hockey that you can watch.

      This second line center situation has to come to a head soon or the season is going to be over. Jason Krog is not the answer.

    45. 4 Rangers.

      I read the Daily News also. But as you can tell by Nylander and Straka’s lower even strength ice time, Jagrs comments are just that, his comments. The coach puts the players out there.
      Which means Renney trusts Malik a whole lot more than you and I. And in a game where the Rangers are generating zero offense at even strength, Renney refuses to use Pock for pure offense minutes in place of Malik or Rosival because he does not trust him defensively. I disagree with Renney whole heartedly.

    46. you’ve got a team in NJ with homegrown players adhering to a system,

      and then you have the NY StRangers

    47. I Miss Steve Rucchin on

      Hey, JOHN M…

      Nylander and Straka were affected by the lack of PP time, definitely, but look at the shift chart (http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20062007/SC020690.HTM) and you’ll see how they were benched for about the last 12 minutes of the game, also. But don’t worry, Betts and Hossa were out there for that last-second clutch goal.

      Not arguing with you, just letting you know it looks like they were benched for something also.

      And I agree with whoever said JWard should be out there as opposed to the-second-best-guy-named-Orr-who-ever-played-in-Boston. Orr had 7 minutes of ice time, no hits, no shots, 1 giveaway, and a penalty. Great.

    48. Maybe the answer is to support the management trading the “eight players” all of us want called up for 8 players in someone else’s farm system. Because then maybe our coach would trust their skills…

    49. come off it John. you know as well as anyone on this board that Jagr is catered to by Renney and sather. they acquired those czech players to mollify him, they play them with him, and he runs the PP his way , not the way it should be run with shots from the point.

      If you think that Renney is going to fight Jagr, just look at the PP, and see who told the coach that shooting from the point is “stupid” and that jagr won’t hear of it. and guess who got his way?

    50. IMSR

      I’m sorry I didn’t notice it might have been a benching. Although, that would reinforce my argument that the Coach is responsible for who gets the ice time. Not Jagr. If it was up to me I would play Jagr with Orr and Ortmyer in games against NJ. Why waste the other 2 offensively gifted players on Jagr?

    51. 4 Rangers

      I know JJ gets his way allot, but it seems to be changing a bit the last couple of weeks. I am just sensing a little change on Renney’s part. He is a little more his own man lately. I might be wrong. But I do sense somethings changing within the Jagr -Renney love fest.

    52. I like Renney, I really do, But he has to go. The team has no motivation, they do not stick up for each other and he has no ability to improvise a game plan during a game. He is a teacher and ,from what I hear, a very good teacher. He is also very classy in the way he represents the Rangers to the media and the league. But Renney is not a good coach for this team. He must go. He has lost this team.

      Now Sather and Dolan are also to blame but lets focus on one disaster at a time.

    53. You guys can blame Renney all day long but unless not bringing up kids to play and assembling the roster is his job then very little of this falls on him.. he has 4 forwards who can play, one third liner and about 9 fourth liners. He has 2 decent young defensemen in Pock and Tyutin and 6 defensemen who are 6, 7, and 8’s at best.

      Unless hes the one who assembled them and the one refusing to play Immonen, Dawes, and Callahan, this isnt on him.

    54. new Coach Jim Schoenfeld on

      I pledge to you loyal Ranger fans to bring up a few of the kids who have played so well for me in Hartford.

      I want hustling, homegrown kids to replace the retread vet fringe players.

      I want a tough, hard-hitting team that backs down from no one.

      And I want to build a team with a future, not a one-year wonder.

    55. Hey Sam,

      Thanks for giving us fans the best Blueshirt blog on the net! Now down to business, this team needs to do something. Jagr despite his shoulder, has not been himself this season. He complained that Renney doesn’t match lines so he is always out there against checkers and apparently he can’t fight through it. In addition, we have been looking for a real second line the whole season. Shanahan is being short changed. He is trying his hardest, but Cullen, Krog, Betts and others are not the answer. There is no secondary scoring threat when its just Shanahan on the 2nd line that can produce. He has no support. Renney doesnt seem to know what his is doing with his benching of defensemen, forwards and shuffling the lines. I think he has lost this team in that respect. His players don’t seem to understand his line choices and scratches. There are 6 weeks until the trade deadline and Glen Sathe better wake up and take that cigar out of his mouth. Everyone says that its tough to trade now, but the Rangers need to make a decision before the trade deadline, do they look to make a go at it now and get some secondary, albiet older, scoring such as a winger or/and checker. Or they decide that youth is the way to go and begin to trade some of the vets, such as Aaron Ward, perhaps Malik and some of the other forwards. Something has got to give. We are barely in the playoff picture tied for 8th place. Mismanagement is occurring within this organization, both by the coach and higher ups. Some serious decisions need to be made soon

    56. the whining on this site is ridiculous.

      the Rangers can’t score, why do they have top 10 goals scored??

      The story is the same, trouble clearing there zone and turnovers…….

      relax ladies….

    57. Peter, who do you think refused to play Pock for months. who do you think refused to give a decent chance to Dawes, Callahan and Immonen.

      It is Renney who does not trust them.

      Dolan said that he is not going to sell the team, and he also said that he loves Sather. so talking about those 2 is fruitless.

    58. Hey Sam, why don’t you ask Genius – er, sorry, Sather – who Nate Guenin is and why we let him walk but now he’s cracking the Flyers’ lineup? While you’re at it, ask him if he thinks our defense might be better with Zidlicky(Naghville) instead of – OK, instead of ANYONE we have playing there – and whether or not he thinks maybe RJ Umberger (who probabkly talked Guenin out of signing with the Rangers) might have contributed something more to our bottom two lines since he has more points this year than Hossa, Betts, Ward, Orr and Hollweg combined. And those are just guys he decided weren’t worth the effort to sign and let walk away for nothing. Zip, zilch nada. We won’t even talk about the trades. We’ll just keep sitting here while all the young hockey players out tghere dread being drafted by the Rangers because their organizatioin is rotten from the top down and will never give them a chance to play.

    59. You’re absolutely right, Stuart. What were we thinking? We’ve got the eighth seed and total mediocrity wrapped up. Who needs better when we can have mediocrity? My bad – no, our bad. Im watching better hockey on the Simpsons right about now.

    60. Stuart

      That was the 5th time the Devils and Rangers have played since last spring’s sweep. Have you accounted for all the offense in last years playoffs? LOL!! Maybe you have taken into account that the 2007 Rangers scored quite a bit during their streaks and have been SHUT DOWN during their losing streaks, except for the Ottowa game last week. If the Rangers were losing 5-4 every time they lose, you could be encouraged by their scorers. But as we know, Nylander, Straka, and even Shanahan have done disappearing acts in the Playoffs. So lets not pull any punches here. There are clutch players and then there are Regular Season players. we don’t have many clutch scorers.

    61. It’s about time the press holds Ranger “brain truss'” feet to the fire. Beat reporters should eat at home before they arrive at games and practices so they’re not lulled into complacency by tasty buffets. And if Sather and Renney keep tapdancing around your hard questions, take them to task in print. Grow a few pair, fercrissakes.

    62. there better not be any panic deals in the misguided attempt to make the playoffs get 2 home games and raise ticket prices next year. The state of the team is on (in no set order) Dolan, Sather, Renney, Don Maloney, and Bettman and his *$^&*%$ new NHL with a 30 team league and salary cap. All of the above on the Rangers side of things must go – if even Dolan stays we’re in deep Doodie.

    63. A) Ridiculous that the Rangers see the need to prevent Cullen and Ward from participating in these ceremonies.

      Besides, if they left Cullen in DC, that’d be fine.

      B) Sam, I’m on the minor league baseball circuit. Having an educated guess at what you’re having is often a luxury.

    64. I mean, I love this team but f**k them!!! I’m really, really sick of this… Renney provides ZERO team strategy! Shuffling all lines like crazy isn’t solution for Rangers other than 1st line scoring impontency… This guy has no clue how to coach this team, no clue at all! Look at the Devils – they were absolutely flawless in terms of discipline yesterday, looked for Rangers like team from another planet. I’d be surprised if we make Playoffs this year… This looks really bad…

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